Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
Archives from October 2013
Sharing Rides, Hoarding Profits
DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM
 “Disruption” is the zeitgeist of Silicon Valley’s tech industry, especially in the realm of startups. The mythos goes like this: small scrappy hackers with very little capital and a few computers can create new business models that will topple o...
The Washington Redskins, Conservatives and Bob Costas
JOSHUA SPERBER
...
Old Tanks & Modern Mayhem
CONN HALLINAN
Sofia, Bulgaria. The military museum in this sprawling capitol city consists of a tiny building and a huge outdoor display of weapons that look as if they had been wheeled in fresh from the battlefields and parked, higgledy piggledy: mountain howitzers tha...
The Childcare Nightmare
MICHELLE RENEE MATISONS
While I’m chasing eleven 2 year olds, who are buzzing on sugary breakfast food they were either given at home or at this state subsidized childcare facility, I’m hoping it doesn’t rain so we can go...
Why Are So Many Jews Leaving Israel?
URI AVNERY
THOSE WHO are interested in the history of the Crusades ask themselves: what brought about the Crusaders’ downfall? Looking at the remnants of their proud fortresses all over the country, we wonder. The traditional answer is: their defeat in the battle of the...
The Devil Made Me Do It
RODOLFO ACUÑA
After my essay on American Exceptionalism, I was interviewed by RT News (Russia Talks) — an international multilingual television network funded by the Russian government...
Psychodynamics of US Default
NORMAN POLLACK
The battle is (temporarily) over. The nation, organized in its corporate-military, hierarchical structure, won; the people, as far as ever from the democratization of the social structure, lost. Nothing has in fact changed from the standpoint of fundamental ...
The Politics of Bad Cinema
JOHN PILGER
As an inveterate film fan, I turn to the listings every week and try not to lose hope. I search the guff that often passes for previews, and I queue for a ticket with that flicker of excitement reminiscent of matinees in art deco splendour. Once inside, lights down, beer ...
A Nation Brought to the Verge of Ruin
PAUL STREET
In the Hands of a Moneyed Oligarchy Recently on his syndicated talk show, the power-worshipping interviewer of influential elites Charlie Rose worried that Washington’s latest fiscal crisis sends the world the message that “democracy doesn’t work as we...
Sexual Victimization of the Criminally Insane
DAVID ROSEN
Jan Brewer is the governor of Arizona and one of her three sons, Ronald, was charged in 1989 with sexual assault and kidnapping of a Phoenix woman.  He was diagnosed suffering schizophrenia and, in 1990, was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to the Arizona ...
Protesting Pot Prohibition While Black
LINN WASHINGTON JR.
Ed Forchion, recognized as America’s foremost black marijuana legalization activist, freely admits that he “agitates” people – powerful people from prosecutors to politicians and even more mainstream anti-pot prohibition advocates who bristle at his antics. ...
It is No Measure of Health to be Well Adjusted to a Profoundly Sick Society
SINEAD O'CONNOR
There are no media which block mockery of those perceived to be (whether mistakenly diagnosed by media, or otherwise ) mentally ill. They do not care to recognise how dangerous it is to do so. It isn’t for me that I have been willing to keep putting my head ...
The Politics of Meth in West Virginia
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says he will decide over the next month on a package of initiatives to recommend to the West Virginia legislature to get control of “this prescription pill mess and this substance abuse mess.” ...
A Fight Like Many Others
JOHN FORAN AND SUMMER GRAY
This is what organizing is. You talk to people and try to get them engaged. You tell them about what people are doing elsewhere, so they can glimpse what they could do. It is – wait for it – a kind of pollination. — Bill McKibben, Oil and Hon...
A Pervert’s Guide to Zizek
LOUIS PROYECT
Full disclosure: I have written at least ten critiques of Slavoj Zizek over the years so I approached the new documentary “A Pervert’s Guide to Ideology” with some skepticism. Despite this, I found much of it entertaining and even a little enlightening. At two hours...
Chavez’s Way of Doing Politics
CHRIS GILBERT
Caracas. Recently, when visiting the Spanish state, I had the chance to hear some rather summary evaluations of Hugo Chávez’s practice and trajectory. I should note that they were opinions of leftists, most often people with an admirabl...
The Default Circus
SHELDON RICHMAN
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” — H.L. Mencken Even the sagacious Menc...
Debt Rhetoric and White Privilege
GALE NEWELL
I don’t like financial “guru” Dave Ramsey. Don’t get me wrong—it’s nothing personal. I’m sure he’s a nice guy. He seems like an intelligent, responsible guy. If we were to meet in person, I’m sure we’d get along just fine. Heck, we might even h...
War, Poetry and Reconciliation
DOUGLAS VALENTINE
“Sing, goddess, the anger of Peleus’ son Achilles ...
Big Tobacco Gets Sneaky
DAVID CRONIN
This week last year the machinations of Big Tobacco sparked a scandal in Brussels. John Dalli ...
Wikileaks Rides East!
ISRAEL SHAMIR
(A review of Mediastan, A Wikileaks Road Movie. The film was screened for the first time in London Raindance Film Festival October ...
America’s Discontent with Egypt
GEOFFREY McDONALD
The USA is not ashamed to express its opinion about what’s gone wrong in Egypt, its longstanding client state. In a recent UN speech, Obama said that the US does not want to “choose sides” in the strife racking that country, but only to see it fulfill the promise of...
Bill Maher, Liberals, Racism and Patriarchy
BEN NORTON
As a secular humanist leftist, I was first drawn to Real Time with Bill Maher, several years ago, because of Bill Maher’s critiques of the religious right. The smug pundit is skilled in the art of carefully crafting a lofty persona—a persona a critical viewer...
Pieces of My Mind
MISSY BEATTIE
My name’s Missy and I’m a piñata of anxieties. This is what I’d say if I were in a support group. Yes, I’m thinking still of Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Over the weekend, I received an email from Hans at Angola 3 News. He’d read my article about W...
A Surefire Plan to Address Gun Violence
BRUCE LESNICK
With an average of three mass shootings per year in the US si...
What Makes a Protest Violent?
RON JACOBS
In September 1981 I was arrested at an antinuclear protest in San Luis Obispo, California. The protest was organized by the Abalone Alliance, a group of liberals, radicals, environmentalists, and assorted countercultural types to oppose the construction of the Diablo Cany...
Ralph Miliband The Illusion of Radical Change
BINOY KAMPMARK
Radical conservative critiques often suffer from one crippling flaw: they are mirrors of their revolutionary heritage, apologies for their own deceptions. If you want someone who detests the Left, whom better than someone formerly of the card carrying, Molotov throwing fo...
Awkwardest and Most Authoritative Ever Comments on Drones
DAVID SWANSON
The comments come from Malala and the U.N. respectively. President Obama invited Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls’ education, to meet with his family. And she promptly explained that what he is doing works against her agenda and fu...
Drug Companies’ Expansion Into Emerging Markets
DR. CESAR CHELALA
Faced with declining prescription drug sales in the U.S., and having lost patent protection for many profitable drugs, the drug industry is relying increasingly in new markets such as China and other fast developing countries, such as those in Africa. That expansion, howe...
Ry Cooder’s Genre Blender
PETER STONE BROWN
Ry Cooder stopped touring on a regular basis several years ago, but every so often he likes to play at one of the best venues in the country, The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.  I was lucky enough to see him there five years ago with Nick Lowe. This i...
Neko Case and the Abolition of Plasticized Music
KATHLEEN WALLACE
It may be a tired complaint, that the baseline norm for musicians today is to be a multi-media package creation. I’m sure to some extent it has been this way for quite a long time, but it still holds true that most of the formed notes that fall from any radio dial t...
In the Master’s Voice
CHARLES R. LARSON
The key to understanding Mark Twain’s Autobiography appears almost at the end of this second volume (of what will be three), in a passage written Tuesday, February 26, 1907:  “Last week I started a club. The membership is limited to four men; its name is The H...
Bach’s Debt Cantata
DAVID YEARSLEY
Perhaps the debt ceiling will one day be raised so high as to form the very vault of heaven. It is that prospect that strikes fear of damnation into the hearts of evangelical lawmakers, who can’t bring themselves to render unto Obama the things that are Obama’s. That ...
The Disappearance of Palestine
JONATHAN COOK
Nazareth. Two recent images encapsulate the message behind the dry statistics of last week’s report by the World Bank on the state of the Palestinian economy. The first is a poster from the campaigning group Visualising Palestine that shows a phot...
Inside Bahrain After the Crackdown
VIJAY PRASHAD
Nada Alwadi was a reporter for Al-Wasat, Bahrain’s most popular daily newspaper and one that has a reputation for independence. Its editor, Dr Mansoor Al-Jamri, was removed from his position between April and August of 2011, when the paper allowed the views of th...
South vs. North
RAMZY BAROUD
On Oct 12, tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Eden in the South of the country, mostly demanding secession from the north. The date is significant, for it marks the 1967 independence of South Yemen, ending several decades of British colonialism. But for n...
The North Dakota Oil Spill You Didn’t Hear About
STEVE HORN
Over 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the ...
Grand Theft Health Insurance
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Here I sit, in West Virginia, staring down at January 1, 2014. That’s when my health insurance policy expires and I have a decision to make — renew or not renew? Right now, I’m paying about $7,000 a year in premiums for a monster deductible and yearly ...
Jerry Brown: The Wrong Stuff
STEVE ONGERTH
On Thursday, October 17, 2013, the Blue Green Alliance will award Governor Jerry Brown a “Right Stuff” Award for “catalyzing the clean energy economy”. The Blue Green Alliance is a coalition of AFL-CIO labor unions and environmental organizations. I am a un...
Israel’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Nuclear Policy
MEDEA BENJAMIN and PAM BAILEY
The negotiations this week in Geneva between Iran and the “P5+1” (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany) offer a promising vehicle for avoiding another destru...
Why the Draft Never Stopped a War
JONATHAN CARP
In 2011 I sat on a panel discussion at King’s Books in Tacoma, Washington, on the subject of the effect of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on soldiers and their families. My prepared remarks were a discussion of the impact of repeated deployments on the families I saw ...
A Movement to Free Time
BERNARD MARSZALEK
We are living in a time of dis-ease when the millions who are consistently working long hours pass by the millions of unemployed as ships in the night. The former, physically exhausted from overwork, share with the “chronically unemployed,” themselves psychically drai...
White Supremacist and Corporate Economic Violence
TOM STEPHENS
“Now look, I’m a trial attorney. I can cut somebody’s throat and leave them to bleed out in the gutter with the best of them. But I didn’t want to do that. That’s not my role in this job. My role in this job is sort of ...
Madness
DANIEL KOVALIK
The other day, I was rereading a little chestnut by Seymour Hersh from March 5, 2007, entitled, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?...
Why We Should Not Forget Miriam Carey
JOHN GRANT
For the past week I’ve been talking with anyone I could shoehorn about the shooting death of Miriam Carey on the streets of Washington DC. As with any homicide — and that’s how it would be classified for the autopsy — there are differing opinions and mitig...
Republican Delusions About Spending and Deficits
DEAN BAKER
It is understandable that the public is disgusted with Washington; they have every right to be. At a time when the country continues to suffer from the worst patch of unemployment since the Great Depression, the...
If Hitler Didn’t Exist
DAVID SWANSON
When video of the October 14th edition of Thom Hartmann’s TV show appears online (here) it will include ...
Chris Christie’s Latino Surge
STEWART LAWRENCE
It’s a familiar “meme” these days:  Republicans are so opposed to immigration reform and so tolerant of nativists and racists in their midst that they have permanently alienated minority voters. Gone are the days when a GOP presidential candidate could capture 44% ...
How Tides Canada Controls the Secret North American Tar Sands Coalition
MACDONALD STAINSBY
Before Tzeporah Berman began her current position as head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition, Tides Canada had already established these structures to create near-total control over budgets– and therefore, most decisions– for staggering numbers of organ...
Nuclear Actors
BINOY KAMPMARK
Imperial powers can be the greatest moralists. The Roman Empire projected the ius gentium as a principle of collective worth, the fictitious laws of the peoples that remains the cornerstone of international law. As much as one believes it, it remains a belief, the spirit ...